The John A. Wilson Building is headquarters of the local government that serves the nearly 600,000 citizens who call the Nation's capital their home. The Mayor and the 13-member Council, elected by residents of the District of Columbia, oversee all functions similar to those of city, county and state governments across America. Dedicated as the District Building on July 4, 1908, it was renamed in 1998 for John A. Wilson, a former Council chairman. The marble and granite Beaux Artes style building was designed, after a national competition, by the Philadelphia architectural firm of Cope and Stewardson. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. An extensive restoration and expansion with a contemporary six-floor addition designed by the architectural firm of Shalom Baranes Associates was completed in 2001.
For much of its history the District was governed by three commissioners appointed by the President of the United States. In 1973 the Congress enacted the District of Columbia Home Act that gave residents the right to elect the Mayor and Council yet maintained congressional jurisdiction over the District. The struggle for increased home rule and voting rights continues today for residents of the Nation's capital who pay federal taxes but, unlike other Americans, have no voting representation in Congress.